Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Hoey, a native of Milford, wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than himself.

Now, six years after joining the Navy, Hoey serves with the “World Watchers” of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1), working with the Navy’s premier intelligence-gathering aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

“Life at this command is very busy due to constant detachments, but we get the job done,” said Hoey.

Hoey, a 2013 graduate of Joseph A. Foran High School, is a naval aircrewman operator with VQ-1, a state-of-the-art intelligence-gathering squadron flying the EP-3 “Aires,” a variant of the venerable P-3C “Orion.”

“As a naval aircrewman, I am responsible for operating the equipment on our planes during flight,” said Hoey.

Hoey credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Milford.

“My hometown taught me the importance of loyalty and respect,” said Hoey.

Members of VQ-1 conduct reconnaissance as well as intelligence-gathering missions. They deploy around the world to monitor the world’s oceans wherever they are needed.

The EP-3 “Aires” is a land-based, long-range, signals intelligence-gathering aircraft. It is a variant of the P-3C “Orion,” which has been in operation since the 1960s. They are still in service and performing missions all over the world.

Serving in the Navy means Hoey is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Hoey is most proud of earning three Air Medals in the Middle East.

“Earning my three Air Medals showed that the work I put in for my country was noticed,” said Hoey.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Hoey and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.